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Best Practices for Plant Sales

Plant sales

Spring plant sales provide an excellent opportunity to diversify your income and grow your customer base. Plant sales are a low-cost way to fill out early market stands while delivering an early source of revenue to further financially support your operation

Perhaps most importantly, plant sales will draw customers to the market or farm early on in the season, creating engagement and gaining loyalty that could pay off in the long term.  Before starting,  there are important things to consider. Here, we break down some central best practices to help you hit the ground running.

Plant sales
Plant sales can diversify your income and grow your customer base. / Credit: Alex Chabot

Properly pricing plants

Make sure to look at the existing market in your region and price your starts accordingly. For many, convenience is a big factor during a particularly busy time of the season. 

It may be worth starting off with a less complicated pricing scheme. For example: selling 4 in pots of annuals for the same price as a 4-pack of leafy greens or herbs. Such a pricing scheme may even out varying costs of inputs and production. Not only will this help for your sales management, it will also simplify the process for customers.

Of course, while there is a simplicity in standardizing prices, this might not be appropriate in every context. Similar sales tactics for selling your produce apply here too: “buy 10, get 1 free” schemes always attract more sales and encourage people to buy in larger quantities.

Promote your plant sale

Get started by using existing sales and communications channels on your farm to advertise your plant sale. Let your customers know about your plant sale well ahead of time so that they can plan accordingly.

Post about your plant sale online through social media, your website, and newsletters, but don’t forget to also post flyers in key locations in your community. Sharing information about your sale with local gardening groups will also be a great place to start.

Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth to keep customers coming back year-to-year. If you have a quality product that customers tell their friends and family about.

Engaging Your Customers

Good customer service is a gamechanger when running your plant sale. Most market gardeners find that their customers want a lot of guidance and support in choosing which starts to buy as well as growing tips to understand how to best take care of their new plants.

Plant sales
Good customer engagement is a gamechanger when running your plant sale.
Credit: Alex Chabot

To ease this burden, provide clear signage. Consider laminated signage with descriptions on crop families, varieties and basic growing information. Providing lists of crops and/or varieties that are “good for container growing” or “shade tolerant” can be helpful as well. Detailed labeling may be extra work ahead of time but will save you time the day of.

To ensure the success of your event, your team needs to be enthusiastic, informed and ready to answer the many questions. On-site flow will be easier if one staff member is dedicated exclusively to sales and another to customer service. This is an opportunity to showcase  your team’s expertise and spend time with your customers to build strong relationships.

Other winning strategies for a successful plant sale

To discover more strategies to improve your plant sales, watch this complementary video!

For more videos on managing a biodiverse market garden, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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